I admit it, I cry easily and it embarrasses my children. We took our family to see Mr. Popper’s Penguins the other day and I got teary during the “sad” moments. If you ask my children, they will tell you that there were no “sad” moments in that movie. But me, I’m different. I cry as easily as I laugh, and sometimes at the same time.
When my daughter graduated from middle school, I cried on the way TO the graduation. She looked at me in disbelief as I drove down the street toward her inevitable transition to High School.
I remember that my mother used to cry easily; during fireworks, any rendition of the National Anthem, her grandchildren singing and dancing – you name it. Her tears were such a source of embarrassment for me. I would cringe as I stood next to her – feeling both the weight of her tears washing over me and the pressure of keeping my own tears inside.
So what is all this embarrassment about? Why do children take on their parent’s behavior as a responsibility? I imagine all the babies getting together in their first year for a baby conference where they learn their fate; “ok, Maggie, you get the mom that flirts with all the teachers, Phil over there has the dad who wears white socks and plaid Bermuda shorts – Beth, you get the one that cries.”
Maybe being embarrassed is a way of confirming our differences? Our children are not us and it’s important to them that everyone knows. Maybe they hold a little fear that they are more like us than they would care to admit? And maybe the embarrassment belies an understanding that they do share some of our idiosyncrasies and there is richness to our bond that runs deep?
It is in fact, an embarrassment of riches. So go forth and turn on the waterworks!
Coach Me Quick tips for embarrassing your children:
1. Be who you are.
2. Appreciate your children even when they do not seem to be appreciating you.
3. Know that their embarrassment is about the bond you share and be grateful for that gift.